Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tammy Faye Baker Re-incarnate

I wonder how often this happens to makeup instructors... The discovery that one of their students absolutely bites the big, hairy burrito. Folks, I'm happy to report that it's not me (gosh, at least, I hope it's not) but a fellow classmate (oh, don't you hate the cut-throat world of makeup?). There was one little thing that I wasn't too happy to report about... It was the way that this woman, this so-called aspiring (ass-spiring?) artist, managed to make me look like Tammy Faye's re-incarnate... her South East Asian sista, if you will!

Call it intuition (or just a healthy dose of competition) but I suspected that the whole interaction would be disastrous - right from the start. Things only got worse when she began dipping into the dark brown creme foundation and the orange color corrector (around my eyes no less). I was scared (frightened, really) as she nervously giggled and spooned out obscene amounts of concealer. She was kind enough to ask if I wanted day or evening makeup. "Day", I responded (in what I perceived to be a little more desperate than it should). I'm not sure what her interpretation of "day" was and perhaps, I was to blame for not asking if she was a nocturnal being (in which case, her day would be most people's nights). In any case, it was then that I realized how truly powerful makeup was... It was all sort of humbling... this horrible application of makeup... my face transformed... Lookin' like a crack ho' and all... Humbling, indeed.

So, in keeping with the theme of this entry, I think it fitting to pay my respects by getting my hands on her story, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (makes me kinda shiver just writing it). Here is a description from IMDB of the film honoring that vixen, your makeup guru and mine, Tammy Faye Baker:

"A documentary look, mostly through the eyes of Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, at her rise and fall as a popular televangelist with husband Jim Bakker. Traces their rise: her teen marriage to Jim; their children's TV show (she was a puppeteer and singer), success founding the 700 Club, co-founding the Trinity Broadcast Network, and starting PTL Network; her nondenominational version of Christianity reaching out to all; and, their building of Heritage USA, a theme park. Things fall apart as money woes mount for Heritage and for Jim, as Tammy takes pills, and as Jerry Falwell takes PTL. Jim goes to prison; she remarries, finds herself alone again, yet remains unsinkable."


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Did Marvin the Martian have a voice coach?

Today, I'm obsessed with taking voice lessons, particularly, voice-over lessons.  I've always thought it was something I would enjoy and possibly, have a secret talent for.  I do a dead-ringer of Marv, which I'm very proud of.  I remember entering a contest in Winnipeg where the winner would get to announce a WWF wrestling match that was going to be in town.  I DON'T EVEN LIKE wrestling, but thought it would be fun to be able to introduce the show using Marvin the Martian's voice.  So, I entered the contest, leaving an entire phone message in Marvin's voice, but with wrestling-style-announcer intonations.  (Does that make sense?)  I never won, but I realized that if given the opportunity, people will do anything for a little notoriety.

Anyway, back to voice-overs and lessons...  I found a few workshops that looked pretty interesting.  Wouldn't that be fun?  Providing the voice of various animated characters or hearing your voice in a commercial? (Actually, I don't like my real voice...)

Here are some helpful tips from James Arnold Taylor, Professional Voice Over Talent who has created created over 8000 bits that were heard on radio stations worldwide (http://www.jamesarnoldtaylor.com/bio.html):

Hone your craft – If you’re really serious about voice-over, study, practice, and take care of your voice on a daily basis. It seems most people believe voice-over acting is simply talking into a microphone and doing funny voices. Nothing can be farther from the truth. In voice-over all you have to convey every type of emotion is your voice. Making faces or using your hands and body to express yourself is great, but nobody gets to see that in voice-over. Acting is the most crucial skill and there is a large divide between acting and mimicking. Just because you can imitate others doesn’t mean you can just go out and do what they do. You must know how to make what you’re reading in a script sound as though it is free flowing from you. You also have to be able to read things “cold” meaning having never seen them before. Most voice acting is done with a script you’ve received a few minutes before the recording session begins. You have to be extremely flexible with your emotions and your attitude. It is a very demanding profession yet very rewarding if you’re dedicated to it.

Vocal taboos – Some of the most damaging things you can do to your voice are: shouting, speaking in a tone that is out of your normal range, speaking from your throat rather than your diaphragm, constant clearing of the throat, and not properly warming up your voice.

Keep hydrated – Water is a necessity in keeping your vocal chords/voice properly moisturized. Without it, your voice dries out, which can lead to loss of voice; this is very damaging to your vocal chords and can hamper your vocal range. Also, if you lose your voice, you can’t work. There are throat sprays to help keep your throat moisturized. I use one often throughout each day.

Practice, practice, practice – As I mentioned earlier, you always have to be ready to perform. I personally started out reading anything and everything I could out loud to get used to hearing my own voice and properly speaking. I liked comic books especially because they cover a wide variety of emotions and characters. Even if you feel silly at first, keep practicing and reading, it’s the most crucial part of the audition process.

Study – Get your hands on everything you can about acting, vocal health, and voice-over. You can start by simply going on-line and doing searches for these topics. The Internet is filled with tons of info and I highly recommend finding out as much as you can.

Step off...

Okay, okay...  It's not so much my Obsession of the Week, as it is something to share with everyone out there.  Have you heard about it?  The White Rapper Show on VH1.  It's so much fun and completely insane.  You feel embarrassed at times, frustrated at others and (if you're anything like me), constantly asking questions like, "Who?  Wha?"  Is that a real person?  (I hate to admit these things but I do!).

The show is hosted by MC Serch (Michael Berrin and formerly of the 80's group, 3rd Bass) and legendary hip hop star, Prince Paul).  "Ten eager (white) rappers from across the country arrive in the South Bronx with nothing except their skills, heart, and dreams of winning $100,000. As they meet their new neighbors, will they be accused of infiltrating a 'hood that has been doing just fine without them? Meanwhile, back at Tha White House, the show's funky headquarters, John Brown finds himself in a heated encounter with Sullee, Persia... and Persia's dildo. After the dust settles (and, trust us, it's dusty in that crazy-ass crib), Serch enlightens one rapper by teaching a very heavy lesson" (VH1 website).

Check it out.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I wish I could tell you all about the horrible day I had at work today but I don't want to incriminate myself in any way, besides, the description of it would be a diatribe - negative and full of many expletives. Suffice it to say, I was ready to pack it all in but instead, began counting down the days to our European vacation, which will mark the end of my life as an administrative cog. (Details to follow!)

ANYWAY... to cheer myself up, I'm going to tear into one of my favorite obsessions of the day. MANY DAYS, in fact. It's your friend and mine, that little cutie from Tofutti. MCC. Yup, that's right - Mint Chocolate Chip.

If you're not familiar with these tasty little treasures, they are absolutely delicious, dairy-free (vegan-friendly) and come in THIRTEEN varieties! Check them out at http://www.tofutti.com/cuties.0.asp. ENJOY!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

What the...?!

I just saw THE craziest thing and had to share it with you!  I do believe this qualifies for "Obsession of the Week" but no so much mine.  In fact, not at all mine...  Having said that, there is obviously a market out there and maybe, somehow, this little video will reach you and you'll say, "OMG - JUST what I was looking for!"


New "stage" in my life

I know, I know... What a cheesy title, but oh, so true! I would call it my latest "obsession" but it's much more than that. I've recently started an evening course which runs two nights a week and will be volunteering on an upcoming drama production at the U of T. This Saturday, I'm meeting with a director from another production company to see if I can either shadow the makeup artist on their next production (in March) or assist them! It's all very exciting - this next "stage" in my life...

Currently, I'm working in (yet, another!) office administration position and have grown extremely tired of being chained to a desk, office politics & bureacracy, the mundane tasks & crazy/boring office mates, and just the whole fact that I need to do something more with myself; something creative; with a pulse and an opportunity to interact with interesting & artistic people.


I'm looking forward to the meeting... Until then, I'll dabble in my makeup kit and read up on stage makeup techniques!

Hauschka update: I'm happy to report that the first round of the daily skin care regime has been a success! My skin felt absolutely luxurious and as the clerk from Noah's predicted, I DID fall in love with the Rose Day Cream! Everything not only felt great on the skin, but it also smelled very beautiful.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hooked on Hauschka

Well, the trip to Noah's at lunch proved to be more confirmation about the Dr. Hauschka line!

I spotted the products immediately. They were housed in the glass case behind the counter. I asked the woman behind the counter if it might be possible to look at some of the products and continued with, "Oh, I've heard so much about them! Can you tell me what you think?" She was excited and not the kind of excitement a retail store clerk might have at the thought of a commissioned sale but a genuine sense of energy. She was enthusiastic to promote the product and commented on how her mother and her boss love Dr. Hauschka's line. She made some suggestions and took time to pour over the different items and encouraged me to try out the testers. Her enthusiasm was contagious and brought another curious newbie with it who commented on how nice the foundation was. In the course of ohhing and ahhing over the products, a man purchased two items for which he received another two (smaller) items - COMPLIMENTARY! It turns out that for every $50, one receives the choice of a smaller/purse-sized item! (Excellent!)

Time eventually ran out and I left the store feeling completely convinced. The clerk told me I'd be back... (She ALSO told me that they were having a product information session tonight and that they would get to sample more of the products and even get fed! How do I sign up?!).
I'm curious about the Quince Day Cream. Here's a description of it from their website:
Quince Day CreamFor normal, dry or sensitive skin A light, versatile cream with a refreshing scent. Hydrates and protects the skin while maintaining balance.
Quince seed extract hydrates and encourages skin's moisture balance
Protects from environmental impurities
Witch hazel supports and maintains youthful, balanced skin
Keeps skin fresh and healthy throughout the day
Doesn't it sound delicious?!

Dr. Hauschka

Ever since I read about Dr. Hauschka Skin Care on the British Vogue site and from fellow bloggers alike, I have been obsessing about the product!
The company website can be found at www.drhauschka.com.
Their philosophy and company approach is very refreshing, as they 'foster beauty and well-being in others'. They also 'help transform disadvantage into self-reliance and economic sustainability'.
I love the way they describe themselves:
'Dr.Hauschka Skin Care is a different kind of company. Inspired by our vision of a culture of care, we've created a company not driven by greed but powered by compassion. All we do is in the interest of fostering well-being in the world, from our ecologically sound methods of growing and sourcing ingredients to our one-of-a-kind manufacturing processes and international fair trade initiatives'.
It's such a humanitarian approach to business and the fact that they strive to foster such a healthy and positive approach to beauty makes me want to endorse the company even more!
Please visit their website for more information about this fantastic company. (I plan to take a short trip to Noah's during my lunch break...).

Toronto caters to the addictive personality

I love Toronto for all of its special little hidden treasures (that I seem to find every day). It's really a perfect place for those with addictive personalities (like yours truly) and those who are curious about the world outside. I seem to find something to obsess about (each and every day). I'm starting this blog to share these findings with everyone and to celebrate the joys of a brand new city!

As a recently transplanted Winnipeger, every corner can be full of wonderful discoveries! This week, I'm obsessed with Noah’s Natural Foods : 322 Bloor Street West (416) 968-7930.

I love this place... It has everything from delicious samosas and empanadas (under $2 each) to sundried tomato pesto, sweet smelling lotions and bath goodies J/A/S/O/N Natural Care Products (the Gingerbread Spice is good enough to eat!) to bulk bins of carob-covered raisins, a takeout counter with superb dishes, reading materials, dry goods and everything in between!

(My apologies - my description isn't truly capturing the wonder and splendor of this store! Trust my word, it's an amazing place... Our family eats mostly vegan meals and we find many fantastic items to use here!).

FYI: There are more locations in the GTA but this is my favorite!